Religion in the Philippines

Dominant religion in the Philippines, Christianity (purple) and Islam (green).

Religion in the Philippines is marked by a majority of people being adherents of the Christian faith.[1] At least 92% of the population is Christian: about 81% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while about 11% belong to Protestant Christian denominations, such as Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines and Evangelicals.[1] Officially, the Philippines is a secular nation, with the Constitution guaranteeing separation of church and state, and requiring government to respect all religious beliefs equally.

According to national religious surveys, about 5.6% of the population of the Philippines is Muslim, making Islam the second largest religion in the country. However, the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) disputes this and claims the adherence of about 11% of the total population.[2][3] Most Muslims live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region.[4] Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school.[5] There are some Ahmadiyya Muslims in the country.[6]

Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by an estimated 2% of the population,[7][8] made up of many aboriginal and tribal groups. These religions are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. Animism, folk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, through the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilot. Buddhism is practiced by 2% of the populations by the Japanese people community, Japanese Filipino community,[7][8][9] and together with Taoism and Chinese folk religion is also dominant in Chinese communities. There are smaller number of followers of Hinduism,[7][8][9] and Judaism, and Baha'i.[10] More than 10% of the population is non-religious, with the percentage of non-religious people overlapping with various faiths, as the vast majority of the non-religious select a religion in the Census for nominal purposes.[7][8][11]


The Philippine Statistics Authority in October 2015 reported that 80.58% of the total Filipino population were Roman Catholics, and 5.57% were Islamic.[12]

Population by religious affiliation (2010)
Affiliation Number
Roman Catholic, including Catholic Charismatic 80.58 80.58
Islam 5.57 5.57
Evangelicals (PCEC) 2.68 2.68
Iglesia Ni Cristo 2.45 2.45
Non-Roman Catholic and Protestant (NCCP) 1.16 1.16
Aglipayan 1.00 1
Seventh-day Adventist 0.74 0.74
Bible Baptist Church 0.52 0.52
United Church of Christ in the Philippines 0.49 0.49
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.45 0.45
Other Protestants 0.31 0.31
Church of Christ 0.28 0.28
Jesus is Lord Church 0.23 0.23
Tribal Religions 0.19 0.19
United Pentecostal Church (Philippines) Inc. 0.18 0.18
Other Baptists 0.17 0.17
Philippine Independent Catholic Church 0.15 0.15
Unión Espiritista Cristiana de Filipinas, Inc. 0.15 0.15
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints 0.15 0.15
Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines 0.12 0.12
Evangelical Christian Outreach Foundation 0.10 0.1
None 0.08 0.08
Convention of the Philippine Baptist Church 0.07 0.07
Crusaders of the Divine Church of Christ Inc. 0.06 0.06
Buddhist 0.05 0.05
Lutheran Church of the Philippines 0.05 0.05
Iglesia sa Dios Espiritu Santo Inc. 0.05 0.05
Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association 0.05 0.05
Faith Tabernacle Church (Living Rock Ministries) 0.04 0.04
Others 0.33 0.33
TOTAL 92,097,978
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[12]

Ancient indigenous beliefs

During pre-colonial times, a form of animism was widely practiced in the Philippines. Today, the Philippines is mostly Catholic and other forms of Christianity, and only a handful of the indigenous tribes continue to practice the old traditions. These are a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored more or less in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship. These spirits all around nature are known as "diwatas", showing cultural relationship with Hinduism (Devatas).

Wooden images of ancestral spirits (anito) in a museum in Bontoc, Philippines

Some worship specific deities, such as the Tagalog supreme deity, Bathala, and his children Adlaw, Mayari, and Tala, or the Visayan deity Kan-Laon. Others practice Ancestor worship (anitos). Variations of animistic practices occur in different ethnic groups. Magic, chants and prayers are often key features. Its practitioners were highly respected (and some feared) in the community, as they were healers, midwives (hilot), shamans, witches and warlocks (mangkukulam), priests/priestesses (babaylan/katalonan), tribal historians and wizened elders that provided the spiritual and traditional life of the community. In the Visayan regions, shamanistic and animistic beliefs in witchcraft (barang) and mythical creatures like aswang (vampires), duwende (dwarves), and bakonawa (a gigantic sea serpent), may exist in some indigenous peoples alongside more mainstream Christian and Islamic faiths.

Spanish missionaries during the 16th century arrived in the Philippines noting about warrior priestesses leading tribal spiritual affairs. Many were condemned as pagan heretics. Although suppressed, these matriarchal tendencies run deep in Filipino society and can still be seen in the strong leadership roles modern Filipino women are assuming in business, politics, academia, the arts and in religious institutions.

Nominally animists constitute about one percent of the population. But animism's influence pervade daily life and practice of the colonial religions that took root in the Philippines. Elements of folk belief melded with Christian and Islamic practices to give a unique perspective on these religions.

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í Faith in the Philippines started in 1921 with the first Bahá'í first visiting the Philippines that year,[13] and by 1944 a Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was established.[14] In the early 1960s, during a period of accelerated growth, the community grew from 200 in 1960 to 1000 by 1962 and 2000 by 1963. In 1964 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Philippines was elected and by 1980 there were 64,000 Bahá'ís and 45 local assemblies.[15] The Bahá'ís have been active in multi/inter-faith developments. The 2005 World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the Bahá'í population of the Philippines at about 247,500.[16]


No written record exists about the early Buddhism in the Philippines. The recent archaeological discoveries and the few scant references in the other nations's historical records can tell, however, about the existence of Buddhism from the 9th century onward in the islands. These records mention the independent states that comprise the Philippines and which show that they were not united as one country in the early days. Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts. The style are of Vajrayana influence.

The Philippines's early states must have become the tributary states of the powerful Buddhist Srivijaya empire that controlled the trade and its sea routes from the 6th century to the 13th century in Southeast Asia. The states’s trade contacts with the empire long before or in the 9th century must have served as the conduit for introducing Vajrayana Buddhism to the islands.

Both Srivijaya empire in Sumatra and Majapahit empire in Java were unknown in history until 1918 when the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient's George Coedes postulated their existence because they had been mentioned in the records of the Chinese Tang and Sung imperial dynasties. Ji Ying, a Chinese monk and scholar, stayed in Sumatra from 687 to 689 on his way to India. He wrote on the Srivijaya's splendour, "Buddhism was flourishing throughout the islands of Southeast Asia. Many of the kings and the chieftains in the islands in the southern seas admire and believe in Buddhism, and their hearts are set on accumulating good action."

Both empires replaced their early Theravada Buddhist religion with Vajrayana Buddhism in the 7th century.[17]

Many Filipino customs have strong Buddhist influences. Estimates of the Buddhist population of the Philippines is around 2%.[18] Buddhism in the Philippines is growing fast, mainly because of increasing immigration to the country. Buddhism is largely confined to the Filipino Chinese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese communities though local adherents are on the rise. There are temples in Manila, Davao, and Cebu, and other places. Several schools of Buddhism are present in the Philippines – Mahayana, Vajrayana, Theravada, as well as groups such as Soka Gakkai International.[19]


San Fernando Metropolitan Cathedral in Pampanga

Christianity arrived in the Philippines with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. In the late 16th century, the archipelago was claimed for Spain and named it after its king. Missionary activity during the country's colonial rule by Spain and the United States led the transformation of the Philippines into the first and then, along with East Timor, one of two predominantly Catholic nations in East Asia, with approximately 92.5% of the population belonging to the Christian faith.[7][20]

Roman Catholicism

The Catholic Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, built on the site of the Church of St. Vitales, the first church built in the Philippines

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion and the largest Christian denomination, with estimates of approximately 87% of the population belonging to this faith in the Philippines.[7] The country has a significant Spanish Catholic tradition, and Spanish style Catholicism is embedded in the culture, which was acquired from priests or friars.

The Catholic Church has great influence on Philippine society and politics. One typical event is the role of the Catholic hierarchy during the bloodless People Power Revolution of 1986. Then-Archbishop of Manila and de facto Primate of the Philippines, Jaime Cardinal Sin appealed to the public via radio to congregate along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in support of rebel forces. Some seven million people responded to the call between 22–25 February, and the non-violent protests successfully forced President Ferdinand E. Marcos out of power and into exile in Hawaii.

Several Catholic holidays are culturally important as family occasions, and are observed in the civil calendar. Chief among these are Christmas, which includes celebrations of the civil New Year, and the more solemn Holy Week, which may occur in March or April. Every November, Filipino families celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day as a single holiday in honour of the saints and the dead, visiting and cleaning ancestral graves, offering prayers, and feasting.

Papal visits

Iglesia ni Cristo

Main article: Iglesia ni Cristo

Iglesia ni Cristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) is the largest entirely indigenous-initiated religious organisation in the Philippines comprising roughly 2% of religious affiliation in the Philippines.[21][22][23][24][25] Felix Y. Manalo officially registered the church with the Philippine Government on July 27, 1914[26] and because of this, most publications refer to him as the founder of the church. Felix Manalo claimed that he was restoring the church of Christ that was lost for 2,000 years. He died on April 12, 1963, aged 76.

The Philippine Arena was constructed by the Iglesia ni Cristo for its Centennial Anniversary and large gatherings.

The Iglesia ni Cristo is known for its large evangelical missions. The largest of which was the Grand Evangelical Mission (GEM) which also occurred simultaneously on 19 sites across the country. In Manila site alone, more than 600,000 people attended the event.[27] Other programs includes the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity),[28] The Kabayan Ko Kapatid Ko (My Countrymen, My Brethren) and various resettlement projects for affected individuals.[29]

The primary purpose of the Church is to worship the almighty God based on his teachings as taught by Jesus Christ and as recorded in the bible. The church’s major activities include worship service, missionary works, edification. According to the March 2012 issue of PASUGO Magazine (p. 24), the Demographics of the Iglesia ni Cristo then was composed of 112 countries and 7 territories comprising 110 races.

Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry

Main article: Jesus Miracle Crusade

The Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (JMCIM) is an apostolic Pentecostal religious group from the Philippines which believes particularly in the promotion of miracles and faith in God for healing. JMCIM was founded by evangelist Wilde E. Almeda on February 14, 1975.

Members Church of God International

Members Church of God International (Filipino: Mga Kasapi Iglesia ng Dios Internasyonal) is a religious organization popularly known through its television program, Ang Dating Daan (English for the "The Old Path").

The church is known for their "Bible Expositions", where guests and members are given a chance to ask any biblical question to the Overall Servant of the church, Eliseo Soriano directly from the Bible. He and his co-servants expose teachings of asked religions which are not biblical and expands more knowledge about some misunderstood verses by using old manuscripts and reliable bible translations. Since 2005, Soriano went outside the Philippines to host Bible Expositions around the world.[30]

Besides general preaching, they also established charity works. Among these humanitarian services are the charity homes for the senior citizens and orphaned children and teenagers; transient homes; medical missions; full college scholarship; start-up capital for livelihood projects; vocational trainings for the differently-abled; free legal assistance; free bus, jeepney, and train rides for commuters and senior citizens, and; free Bible for everyone. In its effort to save lives, MCGI is now one of the major blood donor in the Philippines acknowledged by the Philippine National Red Cross.[31]

Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus

The Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus (Filipino: Kabanalbanalang Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus),[32][33] is an independent Christian denomination officially registered in the Philippines by Teofilo D. Ora in May 1922. The Church claims to restore the visible Church founded in Jerusalem by Christ Jesus. It has spread to areas including California, USA; Calgary, Canada, Dubai, UAE and other Asian countries. The Church will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in May 2022.

The church was founded by Bishop Teofilo D. Ora in 1922. He, along with Avelino Santiago and Nicolas Perez, split off from the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in 1922. They initially called their church Iglesia Verdadera de Cristo Hesus (True Church of Christ Jesus). However, following a religious doctrine controversy, Nicolas Perez split off from the group and registered an offshoot called Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, the Pillar and Support of the Truth). Teofilo D. Ora was bishop until his death in 1969. He was officially succeeded by Bishop Salvador C. Payawal who led the church until 1989. Subsequent bishops were Bishop Gamaliel T. Payawal (1989 to 2003) and Bishop Isagani N. Capistrano (2003–present). It was during Gamaliel Payawal's tenure when the church was renamed as Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippine Independent Church

Iglesia Filipina Independiente Parish of the Virgin of the Assumption in Maragondon, Cavite.

The Philippine Independent Church (officially Spanish: Iglesia Filipina Independiente, IFI; colloquially known as the Aglipayan Church) is an independent Christian denomination in the form of a national church in the Philippines. Its schism from the Catholic Church was proclaimed in 1902 by the members of the Unión Obrera Democrática Filipina due to the alleged mistreatment of Filipinos by Spanish priests and the execution of nationalist José Rizal under Spanish colonial rule.

Isabelo de los Reyes was one of the initiators of the separation, and suggested that former Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay be the head of the church. It is also known as the Aglipayan Church after its first Obispo Maximo, Gregorio Aglipay.

Commonly shared beliefs in the Aglipayan Church are the rejection of the Apostolic Succession solely to the Petrine Papacy, the acceptance of priestly ordination of women, the free option of clerical celibacy, the tolerance to join Freemasonry groups, non-committal in belief regarding transubstantiation and Real Presence of the Eucharist, and the advocacy of contraception and same-sex civil rights among its members. Many saints canonised by Rome after the schism are also not officially recognised by the Aglipayan church and its members.

Today, Aglipayans in the Philippines number at least 2 million members, with most from the northern part of Luzon, especially in the Ilocos Region. Congregations are also found throughout the Philippine diaspora in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. The church is the second-largest single Christian denomination in the country after the Roman Catholic Church (some 80.2% of the population), comprising about 2.6% of the total population of the Philippines.

Apostolic Catholic Church

The Apostolic Catholic Church (ACC) is a catholic denomination founded in the 1980s in Hermosa, Bataan. It formally separated in the Roman Catholic Church in 1992 when Patriarch Dr. John Florentine Teruel registered it as a Protestant and Independent Catholic denomination. Today, it has more than 5 million members worldwide. The largest international congregations are in Japan, United States and Canada.


Orthodoxy has been continuously present in the Philippines for more than 200 years.[34] It is represented by two groups, by the Exarchate of the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople governed by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia), and by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission in the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Church governed by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania). Today, there are about 560 Orthodox in the Philippines.[35]


Protestantism arrived in the Philippines with the coming of the Americans at the turn of the 20th century. In 1898, Spain lost the Philippines to the United States. After a bitter fight for independence against its new occupiers, Filipinos surrendered and were again colonized. The arrival of Protestant American missionaries soon followed. Protestant church organizations established in the Philippines during the 20th century include the following:

Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide

Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide (also known as Miembro de la Iglesia de Dios en Todo el Mundo Inc.) is an independent Christian organization with headquarters in the Philippines led by Wilfredo "Bro. Willy" Santiago, one of the top evangelists of Eliseo Soriano. The group split from the Members Church of God International (MCGI) last October 2009 over disputes over church leadership and changes in doctrines (such as Prostrating towards the east in prayer). The church is currently building a new church headquarters in Malolos, Bulacan and its members are composed of mostly Filipinos and former members of Ang Dating Daan (MCGI).


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the Philippines was founded during the Spanish–American War in 1898. Two men from Utah who were members of the United States artillery battery, and who were also set apart as missionaries by the Church before they left the United States, preached while stationed in the Philippines. Missionary work picked up after World War II, and in 1961 the Church was officially registered in the Philippines.[37] In 1969, the Church had spread to eight major islands and had the highest number of baptisms of any area in the Church. A temple was built in 1984 which located in Quezon City and another in Cebu City, completed in 2010. Membership was 710,764 in 2015.[38]


The first contact the church had with the Philippines began in the Spanish–American War in 1898, when two LDS men named Willard Call and George Seaman, who were part of the United States artillery battery, were set apart as missionaries and began to proselytize after being deployed to the Philippines. They met with little success.[39] Active proselytizing stopped on the onset of World War II.[38]

The first Filipino to join the LDS Church was Aneleta Pabilona Fajardo in 1945, who was introduced to the church by Maxine Grimm, who was in the Philippines with the Red Cross in the aftermath of World War II.[39]

The Luzon Serviceman's district was organized during the Korean War under the Japanese Mission for American servicemen stationed in the Philippines. In August 1955, the district was then transferred to the newly organized Southern Far East Mission, which was established by President of the Church Joseph F. Smith.[39] During this time, Smith visited the Philippines. Due to legal issues, the LDS Church could not send missionaries. Missionary work, however, was done by some LDS servicemen and American residents.[39] Kendall B. Schaefermeyer, a returned missionary serving in the U.S. Navy was one in particular.[39] He had baptized four native Filipinos by October 1957 and was teaching more than 20 others.[39]

During 1960, Gordon B. Hinckley, then an Assistant to the Twelve, and apostle Ezra Taft Benson, visited the Philippines.[39] The purpose of the visit was mainly to see the work of the LDS servicemen groups but they brought back encouraging reports of the missionary work being done among the native Filipinos.[39]

The church obtained official recognition in the Philippines in 1961 when Robert S. Taylor, president of the Southern Far East Mission, filed the paperwork with the Philippine government.[39] Subsequently, the church rededicated the Philippines. This dedication was done by Hinckley on 28 April 1961 in a meeting with servicemen, American residents, and Filipino members.[39] The first American missionary arrived in Manila two months later. Their names are Ray Goodson, Harry Murray, Kent Lowe and Nestor Ledesma.[39] One of the first converts after official recognition was the Jose Gutierez Sr. family. After the end of the years, six more were baptized.[39]

Due to growth that followed, the Philippines was organized into its own mission by 1967 with the first president being Paul S. Rose.[39] In 1969, the church spread across the islands, having the highest amount of baptisms compared to every other area of the world.[38] This led to the division of the Philippines mission in 1974 into two separate missions, the Philippine Manila Mission and the Cebu City Mission.[39]

The first stake in the Philippines was formed in Manila on 20 May 1973.[39][40]

Church president Spencer W. Kimball presided over two area conferences, one in 1975 and another in 1980.[39] During the area conference in 1980, Kimball met with the Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos at the presidential palace.[39] Afterwards in 1987, Manila became the headquarters of the Philippines/Micronesia Area of the church.[39]

Augusto A. Lim, the first Filipino general authority, was called to the Second Quorum of Seventy in June 1992.[39]

The Book of Mormon was translated into Tagalog in 1987. The translation is credited to Ricardo Cruz, a native of the Philippines, with the assistance of Posidio Ocampo and Ananias Bala on the final stages of production.[41] Translations of the Book of Mormon are now in several languages of the Philippines.


29. Manila Philippines


Quezon City, Philippines
1 April 1981
25 September 1984 by Gordon B. Hinckley
14°36′4.881599″N 121°4′11.34479″E / 14.60135599972°N 121.0698179972°E / 14.60135599972; 121.0698179972 (Manila Philippines Temple)
26,683 sq ft (2,479 m2) and 115 ft (35 m) high on a 3.5 acre (1.4 ha) site
Modern adaptation of six-spire design - designed by Church A&E Services with Felipe M. Mendoza & Partners

133. Cebu City Philippines


Cebu City, Philippines
18 April 2006
13 June 2010 by Thomas S. Monson
10°19′45.22439″N 123°53′57.37919″E / 10.3292289972°N 123.8992719972°E / 10.3292289972; 123.8992719972 (Cebu City Philippines Temple)
29,556 sq ft (2,746 m2) and 140 ft (43 m) high on a 11.6 acre (4.7 ha) site
Announced by letter to local priesthood leaders in April 2006.[42]

168. Urdaneta Philippines (Announced)


Urdaneta City, Philippines
2 October 2010
Announced by Thomas S. Monson in General Conference, 2 October 2010.[43]

Other Christians


Mosque in Marawi City in the Philippines.

As of 2013. According to CIA World Factbook, the Muslim population of Philippines reported by the 2000 census was 11%.[7] The vast majority of Muslims in Philippines follow Sunni Islam of Shafi school of jurisprudence, with small Shiite and Ahmadiyya minorities.[6] Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines. Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century with the arrival of Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and their followers from several sultanate governments in Maritime Southeast Asia. Islam's predominance reached all the way to the shores of Manila Bay, home to several Muslim kingdoms. During the Spanish conquest, Islam reached a rapid decline as the predominant monotheistic faith in the Philippines as a result of the introducing of Roman Catholicism by Spanish missionaries and in other instances via Spanish inquisition. The southern Filipino tribes were among the few indigenous Filipino communities that resisted Spanish rule and conversions to Roman Catholicism.


Mosque in Isabela City.

In 1380 Karim ul' Makhdum the first Arabian trader reached the Sulu Archipelago and Jolo in the Philippines and through trade throughout the island established Islam in the country. In 1390 the Minangkabau's Prince Rajah Baguinda and his followers preached Islam on the islands.[49] The Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque was the first mosque established in the Philippines on Simunul in Mindanao in the 14th century. Subsequent settlements by Arab missionaries traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia helped strengthen Islam in the Philippines and each settlement was governed by a Datu, Rajah and a Sultan.

By the next century conquests had reached the Sulu islands in the southern tip of the Philippines where the population was animistic and they took up the task of converting the animistic population to Islam with renewed zeal. By the 15th century, half of Luzon (Northern Philippines) and the islands of Mindanao in the south had become subject to the various Muslim sultanates of Borneo and much of the population in the South were converted to Islam. However, the Visayas was largely dominated by Hindu-Buddhist societies led by rajahs and datus who strongly resisted Islam. One reason could be due to the economic and political disasters prehispanic Muslim pirates from the Mindanao region bring during raids. These frequent attacks gave way to naming present-day Cebu as then-Sugbo or scorched earth which was a defensive technique implemented by the Visayans so the pirates have nothing much to loot.[50][51]

Moro (derived from the Spanish word meaning Moors) is the appellation inherited from the Spaniards, for Filipino Muslims and tribal groups of Mindanao. The Moros seek to establish an independent Islamic province in Mindanao to be named Bangsamoro. The term Bangsamoro is a combination of an Old Malay word meaning nation or state with the Spanish word Moro. A significant Moro rebellion occurred during the Philippine–American War. Conflicts and rebellion have continued in the Philippines from the pre-colonial period up to the present.

Muslim Mindanao

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) comprises the Philippines' predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Islamic City of Marawi. It is the only region with its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.


Even since the 1590s some Jews fleeing from The Inquisition were recorded to have come to the Philippines. As of 2005, Filipino Jews number at the very most 18,500 people. As of 2011, Metro Manila boasts the largest Jewish community in the Philippines which, as of 2008, consisted of roughly 100 families.[52]

The country's only synagogue, Beth Yaacov, is located in Makati.[52] There are other Jews elsewhere in the country,[52] but these are obviously fewer and almost all transients,[53] either diplomats or business envoys, and their existence is almost totally unknown in mainstream society. There are a few Israelis in Manila recruiting caregivers for Israel, some work in call centers, businessmen and a few other executives. A number are converts to Judaism.


The Srivijaya Empire and Majapahit Empire on what is now Malaysia and Indonesia, introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to the islands.[54] Ancient statues of Hindu-Buddhist gods have been found in the Philippines dating as far back as 600 to 1600 years from present.[55]

The archipelagoes of Southeast Asia were under the influence of Hindu Tamil people, Gujarati people and Indonesian traders through the ports of Malay-Indonesian islands. Indian religions, possibly an amalgamated version of Hindu-Buddhist arrived in Philippines archipelago in the 1st millennium, through the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya followed by Mahapajit. Archeological evidence suggesting exchange of ancient spiritual ideas from India to the Philippines includes the 1.79 kilogram, 21 carat gold Hindu goddess Agusan (sometimes referred to as Golden Tara), found in Mindanao in 1917 after a storm and flood exposed its location.

Another gold artifact, from the Tabon caves in the island of Palawan, is an image of Garuda, the bird who is the mount of Vishnu. The discovery of sophisticated Hindu imagery and gold artifacts in Tabon caves has been linked to those found from Oc Eo, in the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam.[56] These archaeological evidence suggests an active trade of many specialized goods and gold between India and Philippines and coastal regions of Vietnam and China. Golden jewelry found so far include rings, some surmounted by images of Nandi – the sacred bull, linked chains, inscribed gold sheets, gold plaques decorated with repoussé images of Hindu deities.[57]

Today Hinduism is largely confined to the Indian Filipinos and the expatriate Indian community. Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism, are practiced by Tibetans, Sri Lankan, Burmese and Thai nationals. There are Hindu temples in Manila, as well as in the provinces. There are temples also for Sikhism, sometimes located near Hindu temples. The two Paco temples are well known, comprising a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple.

Atheism and agnosticism

Dentsu Communication Institute Inc., Research Centre for Japan said in 2006 that about 11% of the population are Atheist or Agnostic.[58] Discussions on atheism are active in academic institutions such as the University of the Philippines.

In February 2009, Filipino Freethinkers[59] was formed. Since 2011, the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society has held its OUT Campaigns in Rizal Park and Quezon Memorial Circle. Also it held two feeding programs "Good without Religion" in Bacoor, Cavite.[60] The society also is a member affiliate and associate of various international atheist organizations such as the Atheist Alliance International, Institute for Science and Human Values, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, as one among secular organizations that promotes free thought and scientific development in the Philippines.

Religion and Politics

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines declares: The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Article II, Section 6), and, No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. (Article III, Section 5). Joaquin Bernas, a Filipino Jesuit specializing in constitutional law, acknowledges that there were complex issues that were brought to court and numerous attempts to use the separation of Church and State against the Roman Catholic Church, but he defends the statement, saying that the fact that he [Marcos] tried to do it does not deny the validity of the separation of church and state.[61]

On April 28, 2004, the Philippines Supreme Court reversed the ruling of a lower court ordering five religious leaders to refrain from endorsing a candidate for elective office.[62][63] Manila Judge Conception Alarcon-Vergara ruled that the "head of a religious organization who influences or threatens to punish members could be held liable for coercion and violation of citizen's right to vote freely". The lawsuit filed by Social Justice Society party stated that "the Church’s active participation in partisan politics, using the awesome voting strength of its faithful flock, will enable it to elect men to public office who will in turn be forever beholden to its leaders, enabling them to control the government". They claimed that this violates the Philippine constitution's separation of Church and State clause. The named respondents were Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, El Shaddai Movement Leader Mike Velarde, Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo and Jesus Is Lord Church leader Eddie Villanueva. Manalo's Iglesia ni Cristo practices bloc voting. Former Catholic Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin had been instrumental in rallying support for the assumption to power of Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo. Velarde supported Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III while Villanueva endorsed Fidel Ramos and Jose De Venecia. The papal nuncio agreed with the decision of the lower court[64] while the other respondents challenged the decision.[65][66]

See also


  1. 1 2 Philippines in Figures : 2014, Philippine Statistics Authority.
  3. Philippines. 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom (Report). United States Department of State. July 28, 2014. SECTION I. RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHY.
  4. RP closer to becoming observer-state in Organization of Islamic Conference. (2009-05-29). The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2009-07-10, "Eight million Muslim Filipinos, representing 10 percent of the total Philippine population, ...".
  5. McAmis, Robert Day (2002). Malay Muslims: The History and Challenge of Resurgent Islam in Southeast Asia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 18–24, 53–61. ISBN 0-8028-4945-8. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  6. 1 2 R Michael Feener; Terenjit Sevea. Islamic Connections: Muslim Societies in South and Southeast Asia. p. 144. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Philippines, CIA Factbook
  8. 1 2 3 4 Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Philippines. Pew Research Center. 2010.
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